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How to Plan a Virtual Bridal Shower

Paper dolls of a bride and groom on a laptop keyboard

Photo: patchii (Shutterstock)

Getting married is already one of the most stressful things you can spend thousands of dollars subjecting yourself to—right up there with having a child. The pre-wedding bridal shower is supposed to give you a brief respite, a calm before the storm that helps you remember you’re doing it all for love, and that a wedding is really supposed to be a big party. But just because the weddings that haven’t been canceled outright have have been scaled down or taken online during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the pleasures of a bridal shower. Here’s how to plan a celebratory virtual bridal shower.

Keep tradition alive

Traditions are an important part of many bridal showers, but they will need to be tweaked when taken online. Normally the maid of honor plans the shower activities, which is a useful practice to maintain for your digital shower. Putting one person in charge of the coordination will bring a sense of unity and togetherness to your socially distanced event. This person can send out the invitations; source, gather, and plan the shower activities; and answer attendee questions. They can also manage the Zoom or video chat, including admitting people into the room, coordinating screen shares, and troubleshoot if any technical issues arise.

Shower games and activities are key

Keeping your shower goers engaged is even more important virtually than in person. In person people can mingle, shmooze, congratulate the bride, and just hang out. In a video chat, all eyes are facing forward and attention is on the scene playing out in tiny boxes. Without structure, this can be very awkward. Plan some games and conversation starters ahead of time to keep guests engaged and focused on the guest of honor. Here are a few to get you started:

Cocktail mixing

This can be done with the direction of your maid of honor. Choose an official cocktail for the event and send it to all of the guests ahead of time so they have the chance to gather the ingredients before the event. If mixology is not the maid of honor’s forte, consider inviting a mixologist to the festivities who can instruct the guests on how to build the signature drink. (And don’t forget to provide a non-alcoholic alternative.)

Play a few rounds of Bridal Libs

Remember Mad Libs? The game in which playful stories are constructed by replacing the nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives with random words selected by the players can be modified for your online event. Use the same format to create a bride- or couples-themed story as a way to keep your attendees engaged. You can download sample Bridal Libs to help get you started.

Couples Trivia

Test your attendees knowledge of the couple by giving out multiple choice trivia questions.The maid of honor and other members of the bridal party can compose questions from their own knowledge and information from the couple. Questions can include, Where did the couple meet? Where will the honeymoon be? How many kids will they have? Whoever gets the most answers right wins. You can even have prizes. Send a digital gift card or send a

Make time for speeches and toasts

At some point during the event, you’ll want to give the friends and family who have gathered to celebrate the bride a chance to… celebrate the bride. Make a list of a few people who want to share a few words, a toast, or a memorable story, or just offer good thoughts and well wishes, and let them know far enough in advance to plan what they want to say. You can make it special by sourcing videos beforehand, from photo and video collages to recorded appearances by far-flung guests who might not normally be the types to stand up and speak at a raucous bridal shower. Be sure to plan this part of the shower in advance to keep things organized and moving along.

Let the bride to show off their gifts

Make sure the link to the bride’s shower registry is provided well in advance to allow time to gifts to be purchased and arrive in time for the online event. Ask everyone to send them wrapped so the bride can open them on-camera—it’s always satisfying to see the bride’s reactions to their gifts.

Close with a sentimental moment

A typical bridal shower will leave the honored guest with a bunch of pictures to scan through to remember the night, but pictures of a bunch of faces on a laptop screen might not feel as special. Plan a themed group photo beforehand—with everyone sharing a message to the bride they can hold up for the camera—which can serve as a memento of this very weird, but still very special, event.

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